With your camera in hand, discover the
enchanting cities of Marrakech and Fez, venture
into rose-colored kasbahs, and snap portraits of
traditional Berber families in their mountain
villages. Photograph the ancient adobe village of
Aït Ben Haddou lit up by the late afternoon sun,
and ride into the Sahara on a camel to capture
the sun setting on the dunes.
This photography expedition is led by a National Geographic photographer and is limited to 16 travelers.
Capture the late afternoon light on ancient clay walls during a photo shoot in the hilltop village of Aït Ben Haddou.
Ride into the Sahara on a camel to photograph the sun setting on the dunes.
Take portraits of the wizened snake charmers of Marrakech, tanners knee-deep in dye vats, and traditional Berber families.
Photograph Morocco's diverse landscapes: palm oases at the foot of soaring plateaus, lush cedar forests, the rugged Atlas Mountains, and the soft curves of the Saharan sands.
Itinerary - 12 Days
Day 1 — Casablanca, Morocco
Arrive in Casablanca and meet your fellow travelers for a welcome lunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This afternoon, stroll through the city’s Habous district and the mechouar, the ceremonial meeting place outside the Royal Palace. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner. Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche (L,D)
Day 2 — Casablanca/Marrakech
Drive through the elegant Anfa neighborhood on the way to Marrakech, Morocco’s legendary “pearl of the South.” Enjoy a poolside lunch at the hotel before delving into the heart of Marrakech. Get a fresh angle on the splendid Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs, and focus on the mosaics and traditional architecture of Bahia Palace. With your camera in hand, explore the labyrinthine streets of the medina, lined with market stalls and craftspeople. Capture the colorful chaos of Djemma el Fna Square, where there are great photographic opportunities around every corner, from snake charmers and magicians to cooks and musicians. Tonight, gather for a rooftop reception and dinner accompanied by traditional Gnaoua music in the heart of the old medina. Sofitel Marrakesh Lounge and Spa (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Marrakech
Spend another full day experiencing Marrakech through your viewfinder. Photograph a range of exotic plants in the stunning Majorelle Garden, once owned by Yves Saint-Laurent, and see an exclusive collection of Berber objects originating from diverse regions of Morocco at the Berber Museum. Explore historic Moroccan architecture at the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa. After lunch, head back into the lively medina for a photo shoot. Sofitel Marrakesh Lounge and Spa (B,L)
Days 4 & 5 — High Atlas Mountains
On this special departure, immerse yourself in the rich culture of the High Atlas Mountains and capture your experience on camera. Settle into the beautiful Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set on a hilltop beneath the highest peak in the range. Experience Berber hospitality on walks in the village and visits to family homes and markets. During a half-day excursion in the mountains, practice landscape photography on a variety of hikes and walks, and return to relax in typical Moroccan style: with a mint tea on the terrace or a steam bath in the traditional hammam. Dine on delicious cuisine and warm bread baked in clay ovens on site, and soak up the timeless atmosphere of rural Morocco. Kasbah du Toubkal (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Aït Benhaddou/Ouarzazate
Cross the High Atlas Mountains over the Tichka Pass, stopping to board 4x4’s for the trip to the Kasbah of Telouet. Once home to the powerful Glaoui clan, the kasbah’s crumbling exterior belies its rich tile and woodwork. Proceed to Aït Benhaddou for lunch overlooking this ancient fortified village before venturing into its warren of twisting lanes and adobe homes for a photo shoot in the golden afternoon sun. Continue to Ouarzazate, a former colonial trading post, now known for its movie studios where films such as Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were shot. Le Berbère Palace (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Ouarzazate/Boumalne Dades
Learn about traditional adobe architecture in Taourirt Kasbah this morning. Then set out on the fabled Road of 1,000 Kasbahs, stopping to take photographs as we pass lush oases and dramatic geology. Arrive in Boumalne Dades, a small town nestled amid the crags and plateaus of the semidesert landscape. After lunch, head out on a photo hike in the dramatic Dades Gorge and document everyday life during visits to nearby villages. Xaluca Dades (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Erfoud/Rissani/Merzouga
Continue along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs to Erfoud, passing spectacular rock formations, oases, and rose plantations. In Erfoud, climb into 4x4s for the drive into the desert. In the souk of Rissani, a historic camel caravan stop, train your lens on shining mounds of olives and dates, brightly painted ceramics, and hand-woven rugs. Later, ride into the desert on a camel to photograph the sunset on the Saharan dunes. Arrive at our deluxe Berber tented camp in time to dine under the star-studded sky and enjoy an evening of Berber folk music and tales around the campfire. Bivouac Tented Berber Camp (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Merzouga/Fez
Awaken early for a photo walk across the sandscape as the rising sun paints the dunes orange and gold. Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast. Then head north into the high-mountain plains on your way to Fez, stopping for a walk in a lush cedar forest. Arrive in Fez early this evening, and check in to our hotel. Hotel Sahrai (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Fez
Spend the day exploring this magnificent imperial city. At the 14th-century Bou Inania madrassa, photograph intricately carved stucco walls, arches, and cornices. Zoom in on the exquisite mosaics that cover Nejjarine Fountain, and visit the Kairaouine Mosque. Venture into the vibrant medina, where merchants preside over colorful mounds of spices and tanners soak skins in vats of dye. Later, visit the Royal Palace and Fes Jdid, home to the historic Jewish quarter. Hotel Sahrai (B,L)
Day 11 — Fez/Volubilis and Meknes
Today you may choose to explore Fez at your own pace or take an excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a World Heritage site, and Meknès, Morocco’s 17th-century capital. Toast our Moroccan adventure at a farewell dinner tonight. Hotel Sahrai (B,D)
Day 12 — Fez
This morning, transfer to the Fez airport for your return flight or transfer to Casablanca for flights departing in the afternoon. (B)
Born and raised in Italy, photojournalist Massimo Bassano has published his work in National Geographic Traveler and on the National Geographic website, as well as in numerous European publications. He regularly teaches National Geographic photography workshops in Tuscany and Venice. His acclaimed photography book The Color of Silence detailed the 12 weeks he spent in a little-known Italian monastery. Massimo has traveled and photographed extensively in Morocco, and will share techniques and insights as you explore the country.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
What To Expect
Our hotels are first-class, well-located properties that
reflect the character of each region. In Marrakech,
Ouarzazate, and Fez, each hotel has a lovely pool and
stunning tropical gardens. Our camp in Merzouga
features deluxe Berber-style tents with en suite
bathrooms and generator-powered electricity.